Trade Shows are Back and I Love Them!

Last weekend I visited the Long Beach Home and Backyard Show at the Long Beach Convention Center. When was the last time you visited a trade show or conference with people exhibiting their merchandise and services? It’s been a long time for me and certainly it was prior to the Covid-19 government shutdown of business activities. I’d forgotten how much fun it is to attend these types of shows. It also reminded me that entrepreneurship and small business is still alive.

The show certainly had its share of home repair and remodeling companies including replacement windows companies, roofers, construction companies, garage door companies and other businesses you’d expect to see at a home show. However, I was very pleased to see some non-traditional small businesses at the show.

The first one was a business called Grizzly Joes. Grizzly Joes sell an assortment of seasonings, sauces, and marinades. The owner (whose name is curiously not on the company website) claims to have been a butcher for 20 years and during that time he made his own seasoning blends for friends and family. He started in business in 2000 and is still going strong. I’d never seen Grizzly Joes product before so I presume they are not available at mainstream grocery outlets, but you can buy them online. I purchased a set of three seasoning mixes (California Dreamin, Original Gourmet and Trail Dust) and two sauces (Thai Sweet Chili and Bourbon Peppercorn Steak Slather). The products are excellent. If you are foodie and/or like to cook, give them a try. All products are made in the USA. A selection of Grizzly Joes products would make a great Christmas or birthday gift.

The second business was something we normally would not call a business. It was mystery novel writer Teresa Burrell. Teresa is author of the award-winning Advocate Series, The Tuper Mystery Series, as well as three children’s books. Her readers rave about The Advocate Series with the majority especially fond of her PI, JP Torn. Her main character, Sabre Orin Brown (her initials are S.O.B.) is a dedicated child advocate, who can’t seem to stay out of trouble herself. I think these books are worth checking out. I’m about a third of the way through the first book in the Advocate series and it is definitely a page turner. I had a great conversation with Teresa (how often do you get to meet the author of the books you read?) and she explained to me that being an author (a least a serious one) is really like being a small businessperson. She impressed me enough that I also bought her book $0 to Six Figures – A Writer’s Guide to Financial Success.

The third company that really impressed me was a company called Back Porch Homes. Perhaps not a small business compared to the two previously businesses, but still an independently owned local business with an amazing product. This company manufactures mini homes ranging from 170 Sq Ft to 340 Sq Ft. According to the company’s website “They are easy to buy, easy to finance, easy to insure, easy to transport, easy to place, easy to live in, easy to repair and easy to sell.” They are impressive. For anyone thinking of building an ADU (accessory dwelling unit) this could be the answer to conventional ground up construction. Best of all, compared to traditional construction, the prices are extremely reasonable. In fact, every city that has a homeless problem because the cost of these units is so much below what many cities are spending to house the homeless. Visit the company’s website and have a look at these very interesting and functional mini homes.

The Long Beach Home and Backyard Show produced by Home Show Consultants. If you’re in southern California check out their schedule of upcoming shows. If you’re not in southern California check with your local arena or convention center and attend a home show near you. I’d love to hear about the new businesses and products that you discover.